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On board a Virgin Atlantic flight (photo: Virgin Atlantic)

Makeup not essential, airline tells crew

Female cabin crew will be able to work without using makeup and can now wear trousers if they want to.

Virgin Atlantic has told its female cabin crew that they no longer have to wear makeup in the air.

But the carrier’s new styling guidelines also say flight attendants are welcome to use foundations and lipsticks chosen from the airline’s existing colour palette.

Trousers will also be part of the standard uniform as an option, The Guardian reports.

The move is a “significant change”, the airline said, in an industry where female crew tend to be expected to put a lot of effort on perfecting their appearance – usually adding to the costs of low-paid employees.

The change will bring more comfort for employees and more choice on how they want to express themselves at work, thinks Mark Anderson, Virgin Atlantic executive vice president.

“Our world famous red uniform is something all of us at Virgin Atlantic are incredibly proud of,” he says.

“As an airline, we have always stood out from the crowd and done things differently to the rest of the industry. We want our uniform to truly reflect who we are as individuals while maintaining that famous Virgin Atlantic style.”

More progressive
While many low-cost carriers have relaxed rules on crew presentation, most full-service international airlines dictate or advise on what makeup must be bought and worn.

Virgin’s move is a sign aviation is becoming more progressive. Until 2015, Qatar Airways would fire pregnant cabin crew. Its chief executive Akbar Al Baker once described crew on rival airlines as “grandmothers” and last year commented that only a man could run an airline.

But last week Al Baker launched the International Air Transport Association’s diversity and inclusion awards to encourage more women into the industry.

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